Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

A flight to remember

with 2 comments

Rosso di Valtellina 2013, Ar.Pe.Pe. ($36.50, 12257997)
100% Nebbiolo from vines grown in the lower parts of the estate’s Sassella and Grumello vineyards. The farming is mostly organic. Manually harvested. Cold-macerated a couple of days before fermentation. Fermented in vats with indigenous yeasts. Matured three months in 50-hectolitre wood barrels (oak, chestnut and acacia) and five months in the bottle. Reducing sugar: 1.5 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
A fragrant mix of red cherry, blood orange, violets, tar, “the ashtrays at Cinéma Parallèle,” a vegetal note and eventually beef consommé. Technically medium-bodied, though delicate may be a more accurate descriptor. The balance between ripe fruit, fluent acidity and supple tannins is ideal. A rumbling of dark minerals lasts into the long, clean finish. Direct and to the point, maybe even simple, yet the purity and freshness of the fruit are an unadulterated delight. As if to remind us that wine is a living and therefore variable thing, another bottle tasted a few days later was rough-edged and sharply acidic. You pays your money and you takes your chances. (Buy again? Will definitely take my chances on this one.)

Boca 2010, Le Piane ($72.50, 12817114)
An appellation that nearly vanished but is now enjoying a revival, in no small part due to Le Piane. Starting with a half-hectare vineyard, the estate has acquired other plots and reclaimed abandoned vineyards from the forest. It now totals eight hectares. This is a blend of Nebbiolo (85%) and Vespolina (15%) from a mix of 30- to 50-year-old vines and vines planted between 1998 and 2004. The farming is mostly organic. Fermented on the skins with indigenous yeasts and daily punch-downs in open steel and wood casks (2000-3000 litres). After pressing, the wine was transferred to large Slavonian oak barrels for maturation. Lightly filtered before bottling. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Cherries and red berries, clay, leather, a drop of balsamic vinegar and a hint of banana peel, then rose and pastrami spice. In weight, texture and delineation, positively Burgundian. The ripe-sweet fruit is laced with iron and slate, framed with silky tannins and carried on a fresh current of acidity. New layers of flavour and aroma – veils might be the better word here – appear with each swirl and sip. Gains an earthy note on the long finish. How can a wine be simultaneously so vibrant and so ethereal? Pricey but, in its way, perfect. Drinking beautifully now if carafed well in advance and likely capable of ageing for a decade or more. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Barolo 2011, Brovia ($64.00, 12831266)
100% Nebbiolo from organically farmed vines planted in 1971, 1974 and 1993 in various vineyards in the Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba production areas. The manually harvested fruit is lightly pressed and destemmed. Macerated and fermented in temperature-controlled (28°C) tanks for 15 to 20 days. Matured in 30-hectolitre Slavonian and French oak casks for two years. Unfiltered. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Les Vins de Dame Jeanne.
Marzipan, cherry, “felt pen,” dried tarragon, eventually rose. Sumptuously fruited and beautifully structured; the sleek acidity and round, firm tannins confer a velvety texture. Complex, layered and long, with a tarry note colouring the finish. Surprisingly open and expressive for such a young Barolo. A gorgeous wine. For a Barolo of this quality, the price is more than reasonable. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Not surprisingly, the tasters spent far more time than usual smelling, tasting and discussing the wines in this flight and seemed reluctant to empty their glasses.

MWG March 31st tasting: flight 6 of 6

Written by carswell

May 17, 2016 at 13:01

2 Responses

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  1. What a great trio of Nebbiolo reds!!. Would love to try the Brovia which I saw on a trip to NYC in Chamber Street Wines.


    May 18, 2016 at 05:31

    • Judging from this single experience, the Brovia is definitely worth seeking out.

      And while I was expecting this trio to be good, it really exceeded expectations.


      May 18, 2016 at 11:52

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